Words Matter: Keyword Types That Help You Target


Keywords are the blood of search marketing. If you’re ever going to stand a chance of having your books discovered, you have to choose the right words as well as banish the wrong ones.

When it comes to choosing the right keywords, of the tools I love to use is keyword planner. I like to start with a theme and see what ideas come up. It’s a great way to brainstorm and I wind up with a lot of good ideas I hope will generate great click-throughs and get more eyes on my works.

But these days, I’m more mindful of the types of keywords I use as I am now in optimization mode, working from macro to micro.

When it comes to becoming more precise, here are five types of keywords you can use to make your AdWords campaigns more targeted.

Broad Match

THis is the default “catch-all” keyword type that advertisers use if they want to find which keywords work, which don’t and any relevant similar terms and phrases you need to hone in on. For example, you’ve written an amazing time travel story. One of your key terms would be time travel and even time travel story. Your keywords would trigger those two terms as well as variations and derivations like story about traveling back in time or dystopian time novel. You can take a look at these terms, some of which are long tail keyword terms and pick which ones apply to your particular story AND will attract relevant readers.

Broad match keywords are time savers and if you use them well, they are budget savers.

Broad Match Modifier (BMM)

If you haven’t ever heard of these, you’re not the only one. I hadn’t heard about them either but the concept of the BMM is to give advertisers more control by letting you specify that only the broad match term and their close variants, including misspellings, stemming (-ing endings), and singular/plural forms. You can use the + before the word to denote it’s a BMM.

Example: +time +travel

Search phrases like travel through time and time traveling would match tis BMM. However, and this is an important distinction, time trek and time voyage would not be considered matches. Why? Because variants of the BMM do not include synonyms. BMM, if used smartly, is a great way to keep your terms broad enough to find some great terms but precise enough to make your terms more relevant and more budget friendly.

Phrase Match

Keywords encased in quotes, ” “, are phrase match types. This is more precise than BMMs because phrase matches are relevant terms that contain the words in the same sequence. For example “time travel story.” This phrase match would be a match to funny time travel story, time travel story romance and even dark time travel stories. Why? Again, variants are allowed and the core phrase of time travel story is in all of the terms.

Phrase match is one of two terms that can increase your relevance, which helps to increase your click-through rate (CTR) because people are looking for time travel stories but your traffic may decrease a little because now you’re narrowing your focus.

Exact Match

This is the most precise match type. Any word encased in square brackets, [ ], is an exact match. That means, apart from accepted variations, that is the term that a reader must search for to trigger your advertisement.

For example: [time travel]

Readers who search for time travels and time traveling will match your term. BUT terms like time travel novel or dystopian time travel will not. This is why you need to be extremely careful what terms you use as exact match. These are incredibly specific. While your CTR would increase, your traffic could decrease and your budget could be eaten up. If you have a popular term and enough people use it, you’re may need a stronger budget to be visible to potential readers.

Using exact match is a more advanced move and you need to be sure of the term before you use it. If you’re just starting or are just getting a handle on your AdWords, stick with broad match until you get your legs.

Finally, Negative Match

Here’s my story. Everything was going wonderfully and then I realized that I was getting my ads were being triggered by terms that included in urdu, in tamil, in telugu, etc. I was even coming up with some foreign language phrases. This is great but I have yet to register any sales outside in Pakistan, India, Philippines, Indonesia or anywhere in Asia yet. They visit but they don’t buy. That’s great but their click and visit was being charged to my budget. That’s money I was losing to someone who was not really interested in my work as it was not what they wanted.

What I did was I added them to the list of negative keywords. That means that for any of the words on the list, my ads will not be triggered and my budget isn’t wasted. Making sure that your negative keyword is populated is just as important as making sure you have the right match type.

As with anything in life, identifying what you don’t want or what is not right saves you in the long run.

So to recap:

  • Broad Match is the default general keyword match type that will help you figure out what works and what does as you work on becoming more precise over time
  • Broad Match Modifier is a more precise version of broad match that helps to keep your traffic strong while helping you become more relevant, thereby increasing your CTR.
  • Phrase Match is more precise than BMM where phrases and close variations (not synonyms) are used to trigger your ads
  • Exact Match is the most precise match type where potential readers must enter the exact term. While you are highly relevant and will have strong CTR, your traffic will decrease and depending on how competitive the terms are, they may be expensive.
  • Negative Match are terms that you don’t want triggering your ads. The people who search for these terms aren’t looking for what you are offering. This list saves your budget.


So what do you think? Which match type are you comfortable with?


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